Posted by: edhensley | September 13, 2009

Mary Loses Her Virginity – Isaiah 7 in the New English Bible


saiah 7, New English Bible

Ahaz Receives a Sign

7:1 During the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel marched up to Jerusalem to do battle, but they were unable to prevail against it.
7:2 It was reported to the family of David, “Syria has allied with Ephraim.” They and their people were emotionally shaken, just as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. 7:3 So the Lord told Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 7:4 Tell him, ‘Make sure you stay calm! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be intimidated by these two stubs of smoking logs, or by the raging anger of Rezin, Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 7:5 Syria has plotted with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah to bring about your demise. 7:6 They say, “Let’s attack Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it. Then we’ll set up the son of Tabeel as its king.” 7:7For this reason the sovereign master, the Lord, says:
“It will not take place;

it will not happen.
7:8 For Syria’s leader is Damascus,
and the leader of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will no longer exist as a nation.
7:9 Ephraim’s leader is Samaria,
and Samaria’s leader is the son of Remaliah.
If your faith does not remain firm,
then you will not remain secure.”
7:10 The Lord again spoke to Ahaz: 7:11 “Ask for a confirming sign from the Lord your God. You can even ask for something miraculous.” 7:12 But Ahaz responded, “I don’t want to ask; I don’t want to put the Lord to a test.” 7:13 So Isaiah replied, “Pay attention, family of David. Do you consider it too insignificant to try the patience of men? Is that why you are also trying the patience of my God? 7:14 For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign. Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel. 7:15 He will eat sour milk and honey, which will help him know how to reject evil and choose what is right. 7:16 Here is why this will be so: Before the child knows how to reject evil and choose what is right, the land whose two kings you fear will be desolate. 7:17 The Lord will bring on you, your people, and your father’s family a time unlike any since Ephraim departed from Judah – the king of Assyria!”
7:18 At that time the Lord will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 7:19 All of them will come and make their home in the ravines between the cliffs, and in the crevices of the cliffs, in all the thorn bushes, and in all the watering holes. 7:20 At that time the sovereign master will use a razor hired from the banks of the Euphrates River, the king of Assyria, to shave the head and the pubic hair; it will also shave off the beard. 7:21 At that time a man will keep alive a young cow from the herd and a couple of goats. 7:22 From the abundance of milk they produce, he will have sour milk for his meals. Indeed, everyone left in the heart of the land will eat sour milk and honey. 7:23 At that time every place where there had been a thousand vines worth a thousand shekels will be overrun with thorns and briers. 7:24 With bow and arrow men will hunt there, for the whole land will be covered with thorns and briers. 7:25 They will stay away from all the hills that were cultivated, for fear of the thorns and briers. Cattle will graze there and sheep will trample on them.

Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most read verses in Christian churches. Matthew 1:22-23 uses this verse as a prophecy that is confirmed by the birth of Jesus. I have included this verse because many Christians have never read the verse in context and because many Christians have never read the New English Bible translation.

First of all, the New English Bible translation does not use the word “virgin.” The reason is because the Hebrew Masoretic Text does not use the word virgin but instead uses a word that means young woman. The young woman might have been a virgin, but she is not clearly defined as a virgin by this word. A link to the New English Bible online is shown below with its explanation. Click Isaiah, then Chapter 7, and click on footnote 26 to the right of the words “young woman.”

If the ancient Hebrew text used “young woman” then why does Matthew use “virgin?” Because the author of Matthew used the Greek Septuagint text and not the Hebrew Masoretic text. The Greek Septuagint (referred to as LXX – Roman numeral 70 – in the notes I refer to below) does mistranslate the Hebrew word for “young woman” as “virgin.”

Irregardless of whether or not it refers to a young woman or a virgin, the prophecy in no way refers to Jesus’ birth thousands of years later. First of all, nowhere in the bible is Jesus ever referred to as Immanuel. The word Immanuel is only used in the 2 verses mentioned and in Isaiah 8:8 (after a prophetess gives birth to a child). Secondly, the context of this story shows that this is an immediate sign for Ahaz that his enemies will be destroyed. Why would Ahaz get a “sign” that he would never see? Where in the New Testament does it explain how eating “sour milk and honey” will help him know how to reject evil and do good (v 15)? Verse 16 states that the land of Ahaz’s enemies will be laid waste before the child knows how to reject good and evil as described in verse 15. What good does this do Ahaz if that child is born thousands of years later?

Just to show how verses can be translated in any way possible, I will refer to the notes of John Wesley (http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=wes&b=23&c=7). Wesley claims that verse 14 and 15 is referring to Jesus. He then claims the child in verse 16 refers NOT to Jesus but to Shear-Jashub mentioned in verse 3! Wait a minute Reverend Wesley! Does not verse 15 mention how a child will “reject evil and choose what is right” and verse 16 refers to events that will occur before a child will “reject evil and choose what is right”? How in the world can any person with any sanity claim that verse 15 refers to Jesus and verse 16 refers to Shear-Jashub? This is only possible if someone is deluding himself (or herself).

I first read John Wesley’s notes years ago before they were available on the internet. I can remember a sharp pain in my stomach. I wanted to believe what I was always told, but the honesty inside me and the desire for truth lead me to realize that what I had always been told was not accurate.

I will be dealing with other alleged prophecies in the next few weeks.

New English Bible Translator’s Notes for the words Young Woman
http://bible.org/netbible/index.htm

“6tn Traditionally, “virgin.” Because this verse from Isaiah is quoted in Matt 1:23 in connection with Jesus’ birth, the Isaiah passage has been regarded since the earliest Christian times as a prophecy of Christ’s virgin birth. Much debate has taken place over the best way to translate this Hebrew term, although ultimately one’s view of the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is unaffected. Though the Hebrew word used here (עַלְמָה, ’almah) can sometimes refer to a woman who is a virgin (Gen 24:43), it does not carry this meaning inherently. The word is simply the feminine form of the corresponding masculine noun עֶלֶם (’elem, “young man”; cf. 1 Sam 17:56; 20:22). The Aramaic and Ugaritic cognate terms are both used of women who are not virgins. The word seems to pertain to age, not sexual experience, and would normally be translated “young woman.” The LXX translator(s) who later translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek sometime between the second and first century b.c., however, rendered the Hebrew term by the more specific Greek word παρθένος (parqenos), which does mean “virgin” in a technical sense. This is the Greek term that also appears in the citation of Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:23. Therefore, regardless of the meaning of the term in the OT context, in the NT Matthew’s usage of the Greek term παρθένος clearly indicates that from his perspective a virgin birth has taken place.”

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Responses

  1. Mr. Hensley,

    I have read your posts and understand that you are an atheist who was apparently once a Christian, so I do not expect you to share my point of view concerning the verses in Isaiah 7 and 8. However, I would like to clarify a number of things about the subject of your post for the sake of giving readers a chance to better judge for themselves whether Isaiah 7:14 should be taken as a reference to Jesus’s birth:

    1. You say that “The young woman might have been a virgin, but she is not clearly defined as a virgin by this word.” However, almah is a Herbew word that has been used in other places in the Bible to refer to a woman who is in fact a virgin. For example, Genesis 24:43 uses the word almah to refer to Rebekah who was already stated to be a virgin in verse 16. The Hebrew word used in verse 16 is bethulah. What we can conclude from this is that both words were apparently used by early Hebrews to refer to a maiden clearly expected to be in a state of virginity.

    2. You are correct in saying, “The word Immanuel is only used in the 2 verses mentioned and in Isaiah 8:8 (after a prophetess gives birth to a child).” But your implication appears to be that the prophetess who gives birth to Isaiah’s son in 8:3 was the “young woman” referred to in Isaiah 7:14. Let’s assume Isaiah 7:14 is not referring to a virgin but a young woman. Can Isaiah’s wife credibly be referred to as a maiden in Isaiah 7:14 when she has already given birth to a child which Isaiah has with him when he makes the prophecy (see 7:3)? Isaiah 8:3 uses the Hebrew word bebiyah, meaning “prophetess”, to refer to Isaiah’s wife. Why wouldn’t both Isaiah 7:14 and 8:3 use the same word to refer to Isaiah’s wife if she were referred to by both verses? Thus, it can reasonably be concluded that the verses are not referring to the same individual.

    3. You say “that the context of this story shows that this is an immediate sign for Ahaz that his enemies will be destroyed. Why would Ahaz get a ‘sign’ that he would never see?” But Isaiah 7:13 reads, “Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?” Thus, we see that the sign is not meant for king Ahaz specifically – the whole house of David is promised the sign in verse 14. Why wouldn’t Ahaz get to see this sign? Perhaps the answer can be found in verse 12: “But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!'”. King Ahaz directly refuses Isaiah’s direction that he ask to see a sign from the Lord (see verse 11). The Isrealites were expected to heed the words of a prophet, and Ahaz’s refusal to ask for a sign seems to be a perfectly good reason why he didn’t get to see one in his lifetime.

    I hope my discussion of the subject will at least given readers a bit more insight into the subject so that they can make an informed judgement as to whether Isaiah 7:14 should be taken as a reference to Jesus’s birth. For the record, I myself studied it out of doubts raised by skeptics, and I found myself more convinced than ever that it is an authentic prophecy referring to Jesus’s birth.

    • 1. Your claim in response 1 is not supported by biblical scholars. I did not write the New English Bible, biblical scholars did.

      Gen 24:16 does refer to Rebekah as a virgin using a DIFFERENT WORD than what is found in Isaiah 7. Gen 24:43 refers to ANY maiden at the spring, not Rebekah. ANY maiden (virgin or non-virgin) that offerered water to Isaac’s camels would be the wife of Isaac.

      The context of the verses does not support your claim.

      2. By admitting that Jesus was never called Immanuel you are admitting that this is not a prophecy about Jesus. The prophecy states that the child of the young woman would be called Immanuel. Jesus is never called Immanuel. This prophecy could not be about him.

      I did not state the implications to which you reacted.

      3. You are really stretching things in your third point. You ignore the context in which the sign was for Ahaz and was to show that the plots against Ahaz and Judah “would not happen” (your god’s words). What is the point og giving a man or a kingdom a sign that does not happen for hundreds of years after all involved are dead?

      Furthermore, you ignore verse 16 that mentions events that would happen before the boy grows up. It only makes sense that this is about a boy of their lifetime, not some boy born hundreds of years after these events take place. Why say “But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right” if the events are imminent? You could also say “But before the boy is born” or “But before the boy becomes a man” or “But before the boy is crucified”. The boy knowing what is right and wrong becomes irrelevent under your interpretation.

      I am hoping that you will read the bible with the same criticism that you might read the Koran. I am hoping that you will some day come to realize that the bible is not the word of god.

  2. Correction:
    I said in my 2nd point that the Hebrew word for prophetess is “bebiyah”. This is a type-o. The word is “nebiyah”…Sorry about that.

  3. Mr. Hensley,

    Thank you for your reply. I do try to read the Bible in a critical fashion as I would other material. Believe me, I have had my share of questions concerning the Bible and have spent a lot of time studying and restudying the issues. I would like to address your three responses to further clarify my own viewpoint.

    1. Genesis 24:43 does refer, as you say, to any maiden approaching the spring. But it can be said that the word almah used in this verse applies to Rebekah as it would any other unmarried maiden. But to show that the words almah and bethulah are interrelated in meaning, I will quote Wikipedia’s entry on almah (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almah_Controversy):

    “The masculine root of almah is elem (“עלם”) meaning ‘youth’ or ‘young man of the age of puberty’.[1] Feminizing these terms would result in ‘young woman’ or ‘young woman of the age of puberty’, but the actual definition is: ‘girl of marriageable age’. [2] This sense of the word continues to the modern Hebrew where almah still means ‘damsel’ (a young woman or girl) and ‘miss’ (a young or unmarried woman).

    Almah seems to be the only word in the Biblical Hebrew language which unequivocally signifies an unmarried woman and children born to an almah would be illegitimate.”

    …I think it is clear from reading the entry that an almah, being an unmarried woman, was expected to be in a state of virginity. Otherwise, her offspring would not be considered illegitimate, as the entry states. So, one may be able to say that the strict definition of almah is simply a “girl of marriable age”, but one cannot deny that the almah was clearly expected to be a virgin.

    By the way, I do not adhere to use of the New English Bible, and it makes no difference to me how its scholars chose to translate the words. I am using the Hebrew words and their meanings in my discussion to avoid the issue of how you or I would prefer passages to be translated.

    2. To say that Jesus cannot be the one whose birth was referred to in Isaiah 7:14 because the Bible never explicitly stated that anyone called him that is an argument from silence. I know of no other person in history who has been referred to by this name more so than Jesus to this day.

    Furthermore, the name of Immanuel is commonly understood to be an epithet of the Messiah, as “Shiloh” in Gen 49:10 or “the Branch” in Zec 3:8. Such names are symbolic in meaning and are never taken to be the actual name of a person being referred to. Of course, you are free to interpret the name literally if you will. But I do reason that it can be reasonably considered an epithet, especially since no person in the Old Testament was specifically said to be he whose birth was fortold in Isaiah 7:14.

    3. Again, I point out to you that the sign was proclaimed to the whole house of David in 7:13, not to Ahaz alone. The whole house of David was even referred to in 7:2. The Hebrew word for house, bayith, has a variety of meanings, its most common being “family.” So, it is clear from the meaning of the word that the “family” of David is to receive the sign. As I pointed out in my previous entry, Ahaz deliberately refused to ask for a sign in 7:12. It makes sense that the king would not see the sign himself, because he scorned the very idea. The context of the passage is not

    Attempting to answer the question of why the prophecy beginning in Isaiah 7:14 is worded the way it is would be a matter of speculation on anyone’s part. But I would like to point out that all of the events referred to by Isaiah took place before Jesus’s birth. Therefore, it can reasonably said that Jesus’s birth can be argued to be a fulfillment of the prophecy.

    Moreover, the argument has been made that the same birth mentioned in Isaiah 7:14 bears connections to Isaiah 8:8 and 9:6-7. Isaiah 8:8 can be read as portraying Immanuel as a king, as the land can be said to belong to him: “He will pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel”. It is no coincidence that a birth is again mentioned in chapter 9:6-7 of an individual of whom it is said will sit upon the throne of David and be called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Pease”. So, there is a reasonably strong case for Immanuel being identified as the Messiah, especially since the identity of the child in verse 7:14 is unknown otherwise (I have already shown in my previous entry that Isaiah’s wife could not have been the unmarried maiden referred to in Isaiah 7:14).

    I hope these responses have helped you and other readers understand that there are valid reasons as to why Christians believe Isaiah 7:14 refers to the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary.

    • Sorry unmarried does not equal virgin. If God wanted us to know Mary would be a virgin he would have used virgin instead of young women.

      WHy cant god use simple language that we can all understand without twisting and changing the meaning of words of text ? Or perhaps the easy reasonable answer is that people are changing words in the BIble for their advantage.

      • It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. -Proverbs 25:2

  4. Corrections:

    1. The last line of my first paragraph under 3 should be: The context of the passage is not damaged by affirming that the sign was made to the whole family of David.

    2. Prince of Pease = Prince of Peace…little type-o there.

    Again, sorry for the type-o’s.

  5. 1. You claim that you only want to translate the original Hebrew words accurately. That is exactly what the scholars who created the New English Bible did.

    Your elaborate attempt to translate the Hebrew word for “young woman” as “virgin” is not logical. In the example you chose (Gen 24) TWO different words were used for a reason! You are trying to say that these two words mean the same thing. They do not. “Probably a virgin” is not the same thing as “a virgin.”

    Further more, verse 14 says the “young woman” will NAME him Immanuel. That is NOT the name of Jesus!

    The NIV states clearly “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. ”

    The KJV states clearly “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

    Can you show me one place in the new testament where MARY CALLS HER SON IMMANUEL?

    Since you obviously can not do so, this is obviously not a prophecy about Jesus. It does not matter that religious fundamentalists thousands of years later refer to him as Immanuel. The alleged prophecy states very clearly that MARY WOULD CALL HER SON IMMANUEL. Mary never did.

    2-3. Your claim that this passage refers to Jesus fails to consider PURPOSE and TIME. Isaiah 7 makes it CLEAR that the PURPOSE is to show that God will destroy the enemies of Ahaz. There is no other purpose stated for the sign.

    Furthermore, you ignore ALL the verses regarding TIME. Verse 8 mentions “within 65 years.” Verse 16 states (NIV) “But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.”

    Since it is clear that MARY never called her son Immanuel, the purpose of the sign is for the imminent destruction of the enemies of Ahaz, and the time is imminent and not 700 years later, it is clear that this sign could not about Jesus.

  6. Mr. Hensely,

    I feel that I should make it clear that my purpose in having this discussion is not to sway you to accept my point of view. My only goal in this discussion is to provide a rationale for you and other readers as to why some people believe Isaiah 7:14 is a reference to the Messiah / Jesus. It makes little difference to me whether you choose to accept my commentary on the meaning of almah or Isaiah’s prophecy. I do not mind at all that you reject my discussion of these things. However, I will point out that your review of my comments in your last response is mistaken: ” You claim that you only want to translate the original Hebrew words accurately…Your elaborate attempt to translate the Hebrew word for ‘young woman’ as ‘virgin’ is not logical.”

    I never made such a claim in either of my responses. What I proposed to do in my previous response was “to show that the words almah and bethulah are interrelated in meaning.” In doing so, I did clearly concede your point that two different words were used in the Genesis verses I mentioned. This means that I did not attempt to translate one word as another – I simply showed that their meanings were correlated to the point that they can be considered interchangeable. I don’t believe Jewish scholars would have chosen to translate “almah” (young unmarried woman) as “virgin” in Greek when compiling the Septuagint in the BC era if there were no correlation whatsoever between the two words. I also do not criticize or challenge your choice of translation regarding the Bible. You prefer the translation of the New English Bible. I prefer the King James translation. I understand that we differ in that respect, and I’m okay with that.

    I do not have any further points to make on this issue. I have already made the case that Immanuel can be considered an epithet and that the purpose of the sign given to Ahaz should be interpreted in light of his affront toward Isaiah and God (see 7:13) along with the fact that Isaiah subsequently addressed his prophecy to the entire house of David and the connections the birth mentioned in 7:14 bears with 8:8 and 9:6-7. I have no interest in persuading people to accept my rationale. I know that people will decide the plausibility of my stated case for themselves, and I applaud the concept of an individual making an informed decision for himself/herself based on the evidence presented by both sides of an argument.

    “You don’t need no friends. Get back your faith again. You have the power to believe. Another dissident. Take back your evidence. It has no power to deceive.” – Live, Heaven

  7. Thank you for your comments. In summary, I think the evidence clearly shows that Isaiah 7 in no way relates to the story of the birth of Jesus. Mary never calls her son Immanuel, as the verses of EVERY translation says she would have done. Your attempt to change the purpose from a sign that Ahaz’ enemies would be destroyed to an “epithet” is your claim only and is not supported by the verses despite your wild interpretation of Isaiah 7:13 and your cherry picking of verses from other chapters of Isaiah. You can not simply ignore the verses in this chapter (Isaiah 7:16 and Isaiah 7:8) that show the sign is imminent. There is nothing in this chapter that indicates the child mentioned in Isaiah 7 will be born 700 years later.

  8. Late Addition to my Previous Post:

    Okay, so I thought I had said everything I wanted to concerning Isaiah 7:14 in my last entry, but I have learned something I find very interesting (and very cool!) since then and wanted to share with readers who might be interested (including you, Mr. Hensley, even if we still disagree). Please know that I am not doing this to make an argument. I do it because I believe in looking at an issue from every possible angle. How else can we make informed decisions?

    The New English translation of the Septuagint ( please see http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/ and http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Septuagint.html ) renders the prophecy of Isaiah beginning in 7:14 differently than most modern Bibles (frequently based on the Massorah). It is a known fact that the New Testament writers quoted from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. Furthermore, the Septuagint’s authority rests on the fact that it is the oldest translation of the Old Testament, and its validity as a translation is verified by the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Anyway, the NETS translates Isaiah 7:14-16 as follows (please refer to the sites previously mentioned to check me…I may make a type-o, and I do apologize beforehand for this):

    7:14. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and you shall name him Emmanouel.

    15. He shall eat butter and honey; before he knows or prefers evil things, he shall choose what is good.

    16. For before the child knows good or bad, he defies evil to choose what is good, and the land that you fear from before the two kings will be abandoned.

    …In looking at the verses in the same way the New Testament authors did when referring to this prophecy (Matt 1:23), we can clearly see why they took this as a reference to Messiah. How can a child defy evil and choose good before he is even old enough to know the difference? It is obvious that the child being referred to in Isaiah 7:14 was not considered an ordinary child by the early Jews (this translation was made by Jews in the BC era).

    Verse 14 differs in that it says that “you” (instead of “she” as translated according to the Massorah). Now, the Septuagint translation may not make any difference to those who insist that the birth was meant as a sign to take place within 65 years (an assumptive reading – 7:8 says that Ephraim would be destroyed, not that the birth would take place before then) or that Jesus was not called Emmanuel by anyone (a claim that cannot be proven and ignores the possibility of an epithet being used as is common in prophecy), but it does shed light on whether the identity of the child being born in 7:14 was something to be regarded as highly unusual / miraculous.

    I think the Septuagint helps to verify the case that the birth in Isaiah 7:14 was miraculous and that it evidently the same birth mentioned in Isaiah 9:6-7. But I do encourage readers to look into these things for themselves to decide what they should believe concerning Isaiah 7:14. You won’t be disappointed.

  9. First of all, you are DEAD WRONG about most of your claims on the accuracy of the Septuagint. Here is proof from Answers in Genesis, a group that believes the bible to be literal and which runs the Creation Museum here in Kentucky:

    “For example, The Septuagint chronologies are demonstrably inflated, as they contain the (obvious) error that Methuselah lived 17 years after the Flood.”

    From http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/magazines/tj/docs/v17n3_Chronogenealogies.pdf

    Biblical literalists ADMIT that the Septuagint contains an OBVIOUS ERROR.

    Furthermore, the Septuagint contains the Apocryphal books that were rejected (placed in a separate section) by Martin Luther when he wrote the German Bible in 1534. These books were also placed in separate sections of the KJV in 1611 and finally removed completely from the KJV in 1885.

    The fact that NT authors used a book that your fellow biblical literalists admit contains an obvious error only further demonstrates how unreliable the bible is.

  10. Mr. Hensely,

    Hi, it’s me again. Our discussion has been a lot of fun for me, and I wouldn’t mind having discussion on other topics too.

    Some museum curators found the Septuagint to be erroneous because it didn’t agree with the Massorah (which came hundreds of years later) on when Methuselah lived? Well, that bit of news is hardly disturbing, considering the fact that virtually everyone in the Jewish and Christian communities considered that the Septuagint was an authoritative translation long before the Massorah existed. It also virtually ignores the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls (which also predate the Massorah) back the translation of the Septuagint.

    The reality is that there are some Christians who think the Septuagint is valid and some who don’t. For an in-depth discussion on that, see the section entitled “Is the Septuagint Full of Errors?” on the site that I referenced in my previous response ( http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Septuagint.html ). Also, how does the fact that the Septuagint contains books that were not canonized mean that the translation shouldn’t be taken seriously?

    As for the document you provided in your response, Sarfati’s purpose in writing it was to attempt to prove the superiority of the Massorah over the Septuagint to promote his view of chronological accuracy (Conculusion, page 17).
    The problem with it is that he leads the audience by making opinionated/unverified statements throughout it:

    “A straightforward reading of the biblical genealogies from the reliable Masoretic text shows…” (Concludion, paragragh 1, page 18)

    “The multiple translators mean that it is uneven in accuracy. The Pentateuch is considered to be reasonably reliable, while other sections are less accurate.” (Which text should be used?, paragraph 2, page 14) This statement is especially silly, considering the Massorah and Septuagint are both the works of multiple translators.

    It is also important to note that Sarfati exposes his motive (and, ironically, provides reason against his own argument) for trying to debunk the Septuagint in the following statement: “The doctrine of biblical inerrancy is not affected in the least by the Cainan difference. As shown, it is not an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the extremely few copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today.” (12th paragraph, page 18) So, Sarfati clearly has an interest in promoting the doctrine of biblical inerrancy (a view that not all Christians share – some Christians believe that the Bible may contain errors caused by the simple fact that humans are prone to err) and admits to the reader that copies of the Massorah contain errors too.

    But my review of Sarfati’s argument for supremacy of the Massorah over the Septuagint needn’t even be considered in the face of the fact that Sarfati’s Ph.D. is in physical chemistry (page 18). This is not a biblical scholar, and his style of writing/reasoning makes that clear.

    Not to be rude but…Any more straw men, Mr. Hensely, and I might start a fire over here. Maybe we could roast frankfurters together instead of going on like this. Sounds like fun to me!

  11. You are rude and you are ignorant. Straw men are false arguments stated as the argument of your opponent. You confusing straw men with FACTS that oppose your claims.

    As an example of a straw man, creationists often say that the theory of evolution predicts there should exist “fronkeys,” half frog and half monkey. The theory does not make such predictions, so that is a straw man argument.

    My latest claim was that the Septuagint is not accurate and that some biblical literalists admit it is not accurate. I backed that up with a document from a biblical literist organization noting that in the Septuagint Methusalah is born before the flood but dies after the flood (and was not on Noah’s ark). You did not refute this FACT. You admitted that “there are some Christians who think the Septuagint is valid and some who don’t,” which is an admission that some Christians validate the FACT that I presented that counters your position.

    I have watched you bounce around in this blog from someone who prefers the King James Version to someone who suddenly prefers the Septuagint because “she” is now translated as “you” in Isaiah 7:14.

    Too many people read the bible in the manner in which you do. They ignore the obvious contradictions, ridiculous nonsense and laws, and evil acts of the God they worship. They cherry pick verses and jump from translation to translation, believing that which supports their delusion and casting out that which contradicts their delusion.

    You have helped demonstrate how unreliable the bible is.

  12. Mr. Hensely,

    straw man – n. (origin 1886) 1. a weak or imaginary oppisition (as an argument of adversary) set up only to be easily confuted 2. a person set up to serve as a cover for a usually questionable transaction

    …No, Mr. Hensely. This was your latest claim: “The fact that NT authors used a book that your fellow biblical literalists admit contains an obvious error only further demonstrates how unreliable the bible is.” to which purpose you provided the document I read. Your claim was that the entire Bible (regardless of translation, both Old and New Testament) is unreliable.

    As I said before, I have no personal interest in whether you believe in the Bible or not. This is the reason I do not attempt to refute each and every one of your points in a statement. If you wish to run a smear campaign on the Bible, that’s your right. My whole purpose was and is to present a rationale for the Christian perspective and evidence as to why it can be considered logical. It may appear to you that I suddenly prefer one translation over another. The truth is that I have no problem with either of them, because I read them both the same as much as possible, and the fact that one differs from the other in some details is not scandalous to me.

    But I will give you this analogy to help you understand people like me who you think are deluding themselves. Choosing to believe that the Bible is accurate and truthful in what it teaches is like choosing to believe anything else, such as whether someone you know is a good parent. My friend and I both know for a fact that the parent forgot to pick up his kid from school one day and lost track of the kid in a store on another. Now, I could look at the parent and say he was really bad (and I could even be biased because I didn’t like him). But my friend can look at him and, even though those 2 things contradicted the idea, believe he was a good parent because he knew the guy went to all his kid’s games, saw him playing with his kid out in the yard every other evening, and never missed a birthday. The point is that we both know the parent isn’t perfect (nothing in this world is), but I chose to give more value to his faults despite knowing good things about him. My friend saw the faults but chose to value his achievements as a parent instead. Who is right? Well, if we went by this statistically, I would think my friend was (3 out of 5), but not everyone is going to agree with me.

    I will give you another analogy. Let’s say we’re having a conversation, and I say to you, “Do you remember the September 11th attacks back in 2000? I can’t get over the fact that nearly 3,000 people died from those attacks. But I don’t think that justified a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan.” You know that I screwed up, because the attacks were in 2001, not 2000. But you also know that there were terrorist attacks on the 11th of September one year, nearly 3,000 people did die in the attack, and there was an invasion on Afghanistan afterward. Are you going to throw everything I said out the window and accuse me of being a storyteller? I don’t think so (at least, I hope you wouldn’t).

    I gave you these 2 analogies to help you see why it is people choose to accept the Bible. Alot of Christians understand there may be faults (sorry, defenders of biblical inerrancy), but it doesn’t change the overall picture that the scriptures are painting. Even science and math have their theories, some of which are unproven and others disproved or altered over time. We don’t throw these things in the garbage and say it’s irrational to make medicine or count money. So, it doesn’t make me any more crazy for choosing to believe things the Bible says even though some things may not add up than an atheist might be for believing in evolution even though the fossil record does not support it and there are other unanswered questions.

    So, I don’t think my honesty in saying that there may be faults in the Bible jeopardizes its reliability. Sure, it will for some people who think that even though it was written by people who were less than perfect, it is a perfect book. I don’t need to believe that to see the truth of what the Bible teaches. Faults are an aspect of life that you find everywhere, even in news, or we wouldn’t have words like “retraction”. Why would anyone ask to know that a religious text was faultless, 100% perfect before believing then? It is not realistic at all in my eyes.

    For the record, I have found some things you said to be rude and ignorant, Mr. Hensley. But I didn’t really think it would be nice or helpful to tell you.

    • Thank you for admitting that the bible is not 100% accurate. That is what this blog is all about.

      It is a fact that the bible has thousands of such errors and contradictions such as the ones that you admit it has in this blog.

  13. crazy!! actually, there are 2 things that the NET trans notes hint to but don’t say out right.

    1. The only O.T. text the N.T. authors used was the LXX (some may not have spoken hebrew, although matthew probably did …).

    2. The LXX was considered (at the time) the authoritative translation of the O.T.

    Therefore, even though the hebrew word CAN mean just ‘young woman’ the view of the Jews of the 1st century B.C. through to after Jesus time was that the woman was a virgin. In a way the LXX becomes a commentary on the text! Cool!

    • NT authors used the LXX. Martin Luther, however, rejected (placed in apocrypha) all books in the LXX that were not in the Hebrew Masoretic texts. 1611 KJV followed Luther’s example. 1885 KJV dropped the apocrypha. NT books quote some of these apocryphal books.

      If the LXX was considered an authoritative translation by NT authors, then why were books from it deemed non-sacred by 1500 years later? Wouldn’t it make more sense for God to have just one set of books that all Christians agree on?

  14. beside your argument being anachronistic. My reference to the LXX was only to that of the Torah(torah,writings,prophets). Which the jews held in MUCH higher esteem to the apocrypha anyway!

    what IS important is what the jews of the time believed that the Hebrew text was referring to a virgin. Therefore the gospel writers understanding of that verse is that Mary was a virgin.

    ‘authoritative translation’ and plain ‘authoritative’ are two very different things. If I say, for instance, that I have the authoritative english translation of ‘The Master and Margarita’ it does not mean that I think that the book itself is in some way authoritative, only the translation I have. There for the LXX being the authoritative translation of the Hebrew text means only that in so much as it’s a translation of the masoretic text (and more specifically the verses that are quoted) is it authoritative.

    lastly, who cares if the NT writers quote the apocrypha? they used it to point to a truth, Paul did the same thing when quoting from the pagans.

  15. The LXX is not a translation of the masoretic text. The LXX is believed to have been translated from a different set of ancient Hebrew scriptures.

    Talk about anachronistic arguments! You claim that the gospel writers understood that Isaiah 7 refers to the virgin Mary? Where does it use her name? Where does it indicate that in 700 years there will be someone named Mary who will give birth to someone she will call Jesus who will be a sign for the people 700 years before the he is born?

  16. […] Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin whill call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the followig post for more information on that topic: https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bible…. […]

  17. […] Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin whill call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the followig post for more information on that topic:https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bible…. […]

  18. […] Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin whill call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the followig post for more information on that topic:https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bible…. […]

  19. […] Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin will call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the following post for more information on that topic: https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bibl…. […]

  20. […] Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin will call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the following post for more information on that topic: https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bibl…. […]


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